Essex Chronicle asks: Are penalties for fly-tipping enough to deter offenders?

March 5, 2019 11:16 AM
By Hugh Gorton

Fly tippingFly-tipping is a scourge on everyone who lives in the countryside. Fly-tippers are serious criminals. If they dump dangerous rubbish on a road, byway, bridleway or footpath they endanger drivers, riders, cyclists and walkers. If they dump it on private land the landowner suffers the expense and inconvenience of clearing it. These criminals don't care about the damage they're causing to our local environment.

Unfortunately, a contributing factor is likely to be Conservative-run Essex County Council cutting the service at the waste centres. Some have had restrictions placed on what residents can take to their local centre and other centres have been closed, meaning longer journeys to the nearest one. Some people may not bother and just dump their rubbish on the road side.

Fly-tipping is on the rise. In 2016/17 there were 1,002,000 incidents in England - up 41% over five years.
If cases come to court then yes, penalties are high enough. If convicted, a fly-tipper faces a maximum fine of £50,000 or 12 months in prison. Offenders may have to pay legal costs and compensation. Their assets can be frozen, and vehicles confiscated. However, more commonly, local authorities issue fixed penalty notices between £150 - £400 for small-scale fly-tipping. It's clear that small-time fly-tippers only face small fines which don't act as a deterrent. These need to be dramatically increased to deter offenders.

Residents can take a few steps to help too.

If you have someone working on your property you can check that the waste material is disposed of in a safe and legal manner by checking the waste carrier's registration on the Environment Agency's website. It can also be reported to your local council or reported to the police on 101 if you witness it, with the vehicle details as this can be vital evidence in a prosecution.

(Article written for Essex Chronicle by Hugh Gorton, Brentwood)